Although originating from the Cape, Calodendrum capense is a semi-deciduous tree that can be found growing naturally in other parts of South africa such as Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Western Cape. Its name was derived from the Greek words Kalos which means beautiful and dendron which means tree. The species name capense is a Latin name for the Cape.
This tree has a single, smooth, mottled streaky grey, buttressed trunk which becomes lichen-covered as the tree grows older. The canopy is rounded and the leaves are dark green, fairly large, simple, with untoothed undulate margins, and elliptic in shape. This tree starts flowering when it is eight years old. The large, sweet scented pink flowers turn the whole canopy pink during early summer making this tree a focal point in the garden. After flowering, five lobed woody capsules with a rough warty surface are produced, these drop large smooth black seeds which are hard but astonishingly light in weight.
Calodendrum capense grows well in sunny, moist areas with well drained soils. It is frost tolerant however, when young the cape chestnut requires protection. The root system is non-aggressive and making the cape chestnut a beautiful and attractive tree for parks, avenues and large gardens. It can also be grown as a wind break or as a shade tree in the garden.